St. Leo IV, Pope 847-855

Muntoni 2; Berman 26, Extremely Fine

Rome,with Lothair. + · SCS · PETRVS, monogram of St. Leo IV. Reverse: + HLOTHARIVS, monogram of IMPA.

Due to the imminent danger posed by Saracen raiders, Pope Leo IV was consecrated on April 10, 847 before seeking the consent of the Holy Roman Emperor. His first acts were to rally Rome to repair the damage done to the city outskirts by the Saracens in 846 and to erect fortifications to defend against their return. In 849 he established a Naval League among several Italian maritime cities. When the forces of the Naval League faced down a Saracen fleet off Ostia, they were aided by the arrival of a fierce storm—obvious divine intervention—which destroyed the enemy. This victory is perhaps one of the most famous in medieval Papal history and is celebrated in a fresco by Raphael in the Vatican Palace. After his death, Pope Leo IV was considered to be a saint for his role in the defence of Rome not only against the Saracens, but also against fire. It was said that when fire broke out in the Borgo district of Rome, the Pope made the sign of the cross and it was miraculously extinguished.